The body positivity movement has grown in popularity on social media over the last few years, aiming to increase self-esteem and promote general body acceptance. It encourages love and acceptance of the body to enhance body image. This differs from the body neutrality movement, which emphasises the body’s function over its outward appearance.
Body Image and Self-Destruction
Body image refers to how you see your body in your mind – not merely in mirrors or pictures. Body image is the sum of a person’s ideas and feelings about their physical appearance, including how it feels to move in their body, how they perceive their body form, and how they think about how they look. These beliefs regarding physical appearance are frequently linked to one’s sense of self-worth and capacity for self-love.
Sometimes, having a negative body image can ruin your self-esteem, thereby negatively impacting your general health. Media portrayals of unrealistically thin bodies as being beautiful feed our imaginations. Additionally, it gives individuals an erroneous impression because these are the body types praised by the media and deemed attractive.
We develop a mental image of ourselves as being petite, and we want that body type in order to be desirable and meet beauty standards. However, doing so could be harmful to oneself. People who follow strict diets to achieve this unrealistic body shape lose vital nutrients from their bodies. In the long run, this may lead to significant health conditions.
Body Image and Mental Health
Negative thoughts about your physical appearance don’t necessarily convert into negative thoughts about your overall self right away – but they can do so relatively quickly. Mental and emotional well-being can suffer as a result of this negativity. Low self-esteem – which can result in problematic habits like obsessive exercising, excessive dieting, or social withdrawal – is frequently a result of having a poor body image.
Low self-esteem can create anxiety and loneliness, raise your risk of depression, interfere with your relationships, and negatively affect your performance at work or school. A study of 563 women found that 40% of those with severe depressive illness or any anxiety condition had at least one incident of disordered eating, compared to 11% of those with no history of depression or anxiety.
8 Ways to Achieve a Healthier Body Image
Here are a few habits you can develop for a better lifestyle:
- Instead of trying to control your body shape, eat and move in a way that makes your brain and body happy.
- Be in the company of supportive friends and relatives. Unfollow anyone on social media that shames others for their bodies and favours one body type over another.
- Consider your feelings and the source of your emotions when you have negative thoughts about your appearance. Do you feel tense? Anxious? What’s happening?
- Take care of yourself and constantly remind yourself that you deserve kindness and love.
- Dress in comfortable clothing that fits the way you want it to.
- Consult with friends and family for help.
- Never evaluate yourself against others.
- Recognise when you think negatively about someone else’s body and change it to good thoughts.
The Benefits of Body Positivity
Let’s face it, we have all assessed a particular part of our body at some point in our life as not being good enough when we looked in the mirror. However, you risk developing a distorted body image if you start dwelling on your apparent imperfections. Your mental health might be harmed by a desire to be thinner, shorter, or taller. And that’s why body positivity is important.
1. It strengthens mental health.
Your mental health is impacted by how you feel about your physical appearance, which influences your self-esteem. The difficulty with negative thinking is that once you begin to contemplate one aspect of your life, it becomes much simpler to do so for other factors.
The next time you think negatively about your physique, take a moment to assess your emotional and mental state. Are you currently feeling stressed or overwhelmed? If so, what aspect of your life – and why – is making me feel this way? Work on the answers to these questions to build up your mental health.
2. It puts social media beauty standards to the test.
Viewing a barrage of flawlessly sculpted male and female bodies when scrolling through Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter has become the norm. These idealised yet unrealistic representations now define the ideal body. Be cautious when seeing such photos online.
Social media content is not always accurate. In truth, many images are edited and tweaked to make subjects appear younger and leaner. To transform their bodies in the hopes of being accepted, many men and women end up paying for body modification surgery. Understanding this and accepting yourself for who you are is a brave disavowal of social media standards.
3. It encourages self-love.
We live in a world that is fixated on the body and thrives on unrealistic ideas of what the ideal body should look like. Unsurprisingly, many people are led to believe that they should be embarrassed by their bodies. They embark on a lifelong quest to ‘repair’ themselves rather than learn to appreciate and accept themselves as they are. Accepting one’s body is a bold act of self-love. It extends past what the outside can see. Never believe that you need to alter a part of who you are to fit in.